The horse’s breathing steadied, the panic in her eyes subsided. “Let’s get these men to camp,” Sanders said. He helped Aric, and the other guardsmen lift Pacome and the other two workers into the cart.
“Tools are gone again,” Aric said under his breath.
Sanders cursed every god he could think of, even the ones he served. The workers had dropped their tools at the beginning of the attack. Anything that wasn’t nailed down was fair game for the raiders.
The small procession of workers and guardsmen slogged back to camp.
The collection of tents, shanties, workshops, and a large wooden barracks, as well as Sanders’ shack of a house nestled in the heart of the forest. North of the kingdom of Kalit and east of the kingdom of Retkal, the camp sat remote and isolated, far from prying eyes that might discern Sanders’ real plans.
General Roderick ran out of the barracks, his dark-blue cloak flapping behind him, a platoon of men on his heels. The massive soldier’s hand rested on the hilt of his sword, his gaze on the wounded men being unloaded from the cart behind Sanders. “Erton, Kiyen, Marven. Take squads and patrol the perimeter.”
Roderick’s breath carried the stench of cheap wine, and his baritone voice rolled over the courtyard and the rough-hewn cedar planks of the barracks to the rickety guard tower at the far end. When Roderick barked an order, people all the way in Ravel heard it. If he yelled an order, it bounced off the walls of the Kalitese royal palace in Eotirali and rolled back towards the camp.
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